Azimio’s five resolutions to Finance Bill 2023
The opposition’s Azimio la Umoja group says it has settled on five major options against President Ruto’s government after Kenya Kwanza allied lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the Finance Bill 2023.
In an address at a political rally in Nairobi on June 27, 2023, Azimio leader Raila Odinga regretted that the Finance Bill would burden Kenyans who are already grappling with the effects of high cost of living.
Here are the resolutions.
1. Civil Disobedience – Led by former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugine Wamalwa, the coalition said it will engage in civil disobedience effective July 7, 2023. Civil disobedience, also called passive resistance, entails the refusal to obey the demands or commands of a government or occupying power, without resorting to violence or active measures of opposition;
2. Rejecting of Bilateral talks – The coalition also says it will no longer engage in bipartisan talks with the government side, citing a lack of commitment and trust.
The announcement came a few hours after the government side requested for resumption of the talks that broke down earlier on.
They emphasized that ongoing recruitment of new commissioners by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) made these talks unnecessary.
“Time for talks is over, and we will show Ruto that he was wrong in dismissing our concerns and those of the people of Kenya,” Wamalwa noted.
“We the people of Kenya, by the provision of Article One of the Constitution, have decided that there will be no more talks between Azimio la Umoja and the Kenya Kwanza outfit,” he added.
3. Boycotting paying tax – The coalition has also strongly opposed the proposed taxes in the Finance Act 2023, arguing that they would disproportionately burden the poor and hinder economic growth.
In the Finance Act 2023/2024, employees are required to pay a 1.5 percent which will be matched with the employers towards the affordable housing project.
The coalition has urged Kenyans to engage in public defiance, including refusing to pay taxes to Ruto’s government. Raila called for a protest on Saba Saba Day, July 7, to demand electoral reforms and express discontent over alleged election theft.
“We embark on the campaign of defiance and civil disobedience including refusing to pay taxes to the Ruto’s government,” read part of Azimio la Umoja statement.
4. Mass signature collection – In addition, Azimio la Umoja announced a signature collection campaign for self-determination, responding to what they perceived as deliberate impoverishment by the government.
The coalition aimed to collect at least 1 million signatures in support of self-determination, which would then be submitted to local and international bodies for consideration. They defined self-determination as the right of people to determine their own political status and pursue economic, social, and cultural development.
“There will be a mass signature collection to signal the withdrawal of sovereignty from officials in the government who supported the Finance Bill,” Wamalwa stated.
5. Attack on media – Azimio la Umoja also expressed concerns about the government’s treatment of the media, denouncing attacks on journalists and media houses as a threat to democracy and freedom of expression. They called on the Ruto regime to respect the media’s role in society and cease harassment.